Douglas Farnum Dickerson (he went by "Curley"or "Curly") was born on March 5, 1923, in Greenville, South Carolina, to Raymond and Blanche Welker Dickerson. In 1921, Douglas' family moved to Reidsville, N.C. In 1929, they moved to Greensboro, N.C., where Douglas was raised. Douglas Dickerson was attended and graduated from Greensboro Senior High School from 1936 to 1939, where he was an athlete. Dickerson attended college at North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (now North Carolina State University) in Raleigh, N.C. He was an athlete in college as well. Dickerson played quarterback on the college football team, and outfield on the college baseball team. He attended North Carolina State College from 1939 until he was drafted in early 1942 into military service during World War II.
Dickerson chose to enlist in the U.S. Army rather than waiting to go through the draft process. Dickerson volunteered to join the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, and took basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington. Two months after being assigned to Fort Lewis, Douglas Dickerson volunteered to join a specialized commando unit within the 82nd Airborne (part of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment), and was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, for jump school. Dickerson and his 30-man unit shipped out of the United States, seeing their first active combat in Sicily in 1943. Often operating behind enemy lines, the unit participated in six major campaigns across Europe, including Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, Belgium at the Battle of the Bulge, and Germany.
Dickerson spent a total of 371 days in and out of combat. Douglas Dickerson served in the U.S. Army for three years during WWII, receiving two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Expert Infantry Badge, and the Presidential Unit Citation for his WWII service. He was one of a very small group to have received the Triple Combat Infantryman Badge. France and Belgium each awarded him their respective Croix de Guerre medals. The French Legion of Honor gave Dickerson the rank of “Chevalier” or “Knight” in 2006.
After the war, Douglas Dickerson returned to Greensboro, and resumed his education at Guilford College and later High Point College. He graduated from High Point College in 1949 with a teaching certificate in social studies and physical education. Following a short career as an educator, Dickerson joined the U.S. Postal Service in 1952, having a 32-year career as a postman. He served as a coach for local athletic teams. Originally an assistant coach for Guilford College and High Point College, Dickerson later coached teams at Liberty High School (1947-1949), Gibsonville High School (1949), and Notre Dame High School (1959-1962). Douglas F. Dickerson died on May 25, 2011 in Greensboro, N.C., and was buried in Green Hill Cemetery in the same city.